Come, let’s deal wisely 1 with them. Otherwise 2 they will continue to multiply, 3 and if 4 a war breaks out, they will ally themselves with 5 our enemies and fight against us and leave 6 the country.”
|NET © Notes||
1 tn The verb is the Hitpael cohortative of חָכַם (khakam, “to be wise”). This verb has the idea of acting shrewdly, dealing wisely. The basic idea in the word group is that of skill. So a skillful decision is required to prevent the Israelites from multiplying any more.
sn Pharaoh’s speech invites evaluation. How wise did his plans prove to be?
2 tn The word פֶּן (pen) expresses fear or precaution and can also be translated “lest” or “else” (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 75-76, §461).
3 tn The verb can be translated simply “will multiply,” but since Pharaoh has already indicated that he is aware they were doing that, the nuance here must mean to multiply all the more, or to continue to multiply. Cf. NIV “will become even more numerous.”
4 tn The words וְהָיָה כִּי (vÿhayah ki) introduce a conditional clause – “if” (see GKC 335 §112.y).
5 tn Heb “and [lest] he [Israel] also be joined to.”
6 tn Heb “and go up from.” All the verbs coming after the particle פֶּן (pen, “otherwise, lest” in v. 10) have the same force and are therefore parallel. These are the fears of the Egyptians. This explains why a shrewd policy of population control was required. They wanted to keep Israel enslaved; they did not want them to become too numerous and escape.